As a new cyclist in the area it is important to be aware of the laws in place where you are riding. Being aware of these laws can help you avoid fines and arrive at your destination in the safest way possible.
Under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act a bicycle is a vehicle. As a cyclist, you must share the road with others (cars, buses, trucks, ect.), obey all traffic laws, and stay as close to the right edge of the road as possible, especially if you’re slower than other traffic.
Unless your bicycle was designed for more than one person, you cannot carry a passenger on your bicycle.
You must have proper lights and reflectors or you can face up to $500 in fines. By law your bicycle must have a white front light and a red rear light or reflector when you ride between one-half hour before sunset and one-half hour after sunrise. The law also requires you to have white reflective strips on the front forks and red reflective strips on the rear stays.
You cannot ride on controlled access highways, such as Ontario’s 400-series highways. If riding across a pedestrian cross walk, you must walk your bike to the other side.
If you are under 18 you must wear an approved helmet. When purchasing a helmet, make sure it meets safety standards and fits your head correctly. If you have children or are under 16 years of age please be aware that parents/guardians are responsible for ensuring their child is wearing a helmet if under 16. There is a $75 fine for those who don’t comply with this regulation. You aren’t required by the law to wear a helmet if you’re over 18, but it is highly recommended, as a helmet can greatly reduce the risk of permanent injury or death if you fall or collide.
By law, all bikes must have a working bell or horn for you to announce your approach. It is appropriate to vocally inform pedestrians or other cyclists that you will be passing, but you must have a bell or horn installed on your bike.